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What is an Integrated Management System?

An integrated management system is a management system that integrates all of an organization's systems and processes in to one complete framework, enabling an organisation to work as a single unit with unified objectives. 

With an integrated system, your organisation becomes a unified whole, with each function aligned behind a single goal: improving the performance of the entire organisation. Instead of "silos", you have a genuinely co-ordinated system: one that's greater than the sum of its parts, and can achieve more than ever before. An integrated system provides a clear, holistic picture of all aspects of your organization, how they affect each other, and their associated risks. There is less duplication, and it becomes easier to adopt new systems in future. 

An integrated management system allows a management team to create one structure that can help to effectively and efficiently deliver an organization's objectives. From managing employees' needs, to monitoring competitors' activities, from encouraging best practice to minimizing risks and maximizing resources, an integrated approach can help an organization achieve their objectives.

What type of business would benefit from an IMS?

Integrated Management is relevant to any organization, regardless of size or sector, looking to integrate two or more of their management systems into one cohesive system with a holistic set of documentation, policies, procedures and processes. Typically, organizations most receptive to this product will be those who have maturing management systems and who wish to introduce other management systems to their organization with the benefits that those bring.

Integrated Management System certification Benefits

Reduced costs increase profit margins

Increased competitiveness

Facilitates injured employees to return to work

Reduces incident frequency and severity rates or lost time

Reduces damage to equipment, inventory or product loss, and

generation of hazardous waste

Increases companies’ regulatory compliance

Integrates process quality and safety

Improves employee and public relations

Better financial performance and optimized cost

By avoiding duplication in internal audits, document control, training and administration, adopting future management systems will be much more effective.

Time saving

By having only one management review

A holistic approach to managing business risks

By ensuring that all consequences of any action are taken into account, including how they affect each other and their associated risks.

Reduced duplication and bureaucracy

By having one set of processes ensures the requirements of the specific standards are co-ordinated, workloads streamlined and disparate systems avoided.

Less conflict between systems

By avoiding separate ‘empires’ for the likes of quality and environment, responsibilities are made clear from the outset.

Improved communication, both internal and external 

By having one set of objectives, a team approach culture can thrive and improve communication.

Enhanced business focus

By having one system linked to the strategic objectives of the business contributes to the overall continual improvement of the organization.

Improved staff morale and motivation

By involving and linking roles and responsibilities to objectives, it makes change and new initiatives easier to implement and makes for a more dynamic and successful company.

Optimized internal and external audits

By minimizing the number of audits required and maximizing

How do I ensure effective design and implementation?

To ensure this is done effectively, the steps listed below should be followed:

Define the Business Model and Primary Functions

Analyse business processes using flow charts, standards and failure mode analysis techniques

Formulate operational policies which will govern the processes and their inter-linkages

Develop internal business procedures to control each business process which define who does what and where, when and how

Implement the new and improved practices, if required

Identify optimum documentation needs by linkage to the control procedures

Document the system

What are Integrated Management Systems?

An integrated management system (IMS) is a management system, which integrates all relevant components of a business into one coherent system so as to enable the optimal achievement of its business objectives. The integrated approach requires combining all the internal business management practices into one system. For the different systems to be properly integrated, rather than simply being separate systems joined together, there have to be effective linkages so that the boundaries between processes are seamless. The fundamental components of the system include the organisation, resources and processes. Therefore, people, equipment and business culture are part of the system as well as the documented policies and practices.

What can be integrated?

Any system, which is required by the effective running of a business, can be integrated either totally or partially under a unified management structure. In essence any system, which has an impact on overall business performance should be part of the integrated management system. 

What is required to ensure effective integrated management systems?

To ensure effective systems, the following functions must be performed: 

Risk Assessment- this should address customer perceptions, health & safety risks, environmental concerns & impacts and process failure modes. By having a common approach it will be easier to compare risks occurring in different parts of the business.

Norms & Regulations Management - to capture norms and regulations with respect to product specifications, environment and health & safety and their impacts on the business.

Continual Improvement Management - this should focus on specific improvement programmes related to quality, health & safety and environment.

Stakeholders Awareness - this should address needs of both customers, staff and general public with respect to quality, health & safety and environment

What is the best approach to take?

Whether an organisation has an existing formal system or not, it is best to adopt the business process approach to management system development. The benefits are that one coherent system can be built which serves business needs and does not tie the organisation to a particular standard. The standards are used to assist identify tasks and processes. This approach starts by looking at the business as a whole and establishing its objectives, mission and core processes which deliver the objectives and achieve this mission. 

Why should management systems be integrated?

Integration is designed to:

Ensure focus on business goals & objectives

Harmonise and optimise practices

Reduce risks to the business and increase profitability

Balance conflicting objectives

Eliminate conflicting responsibilities and relationships

Create consistency

Reduce duplication and therefore costs

Improve communications

Facilitate training and development

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